A Digital Detox Could Give You These 5 Benefits
In today’s always-on world where smartphones and social media are tailored to keep our interests piqued, it’s more important than ever to master the art of unplugging.
While smartphones are intended to foster connection, sometimes the magnetism of notifications on our screens is simply too much to resist. This constant barrage of pings and buzzes is not only designed to grab your attention, but inadvertently - and in some cases, intentionally - triggers chemical reactions in the human brain that can lead to feelings of anxiousness, sadness, and even hyperactivity.
So how do we break the cycle? For the majority of us, permanently severing ourselves from technology is neither possible nor logical. Luckily, there’s no need to go off-grid to benefit from moderating your screen time. Get started with features and apps that help you track your screen time, allowing you to become more mindful of how often you’re interacting with your phone throughout the day. Once you tune in, you might realize there are certain times of the day where you can either silence or disconnect from notifications. With studies showing that Americans check their smartphones an average of 52 times per day, there is most likely room for you to cut back. Like any new habit, it might take some practice—and patience—to integrate this into your routine.
Once you do, here are some of the physical and mental benefits you can come to expect…
Improved productivity and focus. Ironically, an always-on approach doesn’t necessarily mean more productivity; it typically points to the contrary. Multi-tasking and constant action is revered in America as the foundation of success, when in reality this detracts from focus and can lead to tasks taking longer than they should.
Boosted confidence and self-worth. It’s no surprise anymore that social media platforms tweak their algorithms to keep us engaged. This isn’t always in favor of the social media user, who can be drawn in by the stimulation of negative emotions. For instance, your feed could be serving you photos that give you a sense of inadequacy. It’s important to remember that social media is far from reality and is not a legitimate standard to hold yourself to. Taking time to detach from this toxic relationship and trying not to compare yourself to unrealistic portrayals can do wonders for your self-worth.
Feeling closer to your loved ones. Have you ever been sitting with a friend or significant other, and as you’re divulging something, their phone goes off? How does that make you feel? Most likely you feel a little disheartened, especially if they pause the conversation to peek at their phone or feign listening as they multi-task. Simply put, putting the phone away during times of meaningful connection builds closer relationships.
Experiencing increased mindfulness. Limiting distractions can help strengthen your ability to be mindful. Just like any other muscle, your mind needs practice to stay focused and present. Acknowledging that messages and emails aren’t going anywhere is the first step to embracing and allowing yourself to savor your presence. Studies show that mindfulness alone has a host of health benefits, including supporting your cardiovascular health, reducing psychological pain, and even helping improve immune health.
Decreased feelings of stress and anxiousness. If we’re being honest with ourselves, there’s never a clear start or stop to work. If we let it, work can spiral on and on, giving us the illusion that we are never finished and therefore cannot disconnect or take a break. You’ll have to create this structure for yourself, creating boundaries that cater to your mental and physical needs. Whether it’s by checking your email only during certain times or putting your phone on “Do Not Disturb” starting at 6pm, find what works for you and stick to it.
Summer can be an ideal time to benefit from unplugging, so what are you waiting for? Ditch your phone and delight in the power of the digital detox.
Glick, M. (2022, April 29). Phone notifications are messing with your brain. Discover Magazine. Retrieved July 18, 2022, from https://www.discovermagazine.com/technology/phone-notifications-are-messing-with-your-brain
Taking a technology break Can help your health. News | UW Health. (n.d.). Retrieved July 19, 2022, from https://www.uwhealth.org/news/taking-technology-break-can-help-health